With Love From Mexico
Mexican growers developed a unique technique to create the perfect fruit. By manually taking the best of the Patron avocado plant (the branches) and the best of the Criollo avocado plant (the roots), and grafting from one plan to the other one, they literally hand make the most perfect avocado plant in the world. The results: the beauty of the Hass fruit with the strong roots of the Criollo plant. Hand grafting two trees together is a painstaking process, but in three to five years, the small tree will start producing up to 750 pounds of fruit per year, harvested by a team of pickers.
Picking avocados isn’t as easy as shaking some branches. Instead, avocado pickers use a pole to pick the green fruit, as quality control mandates that once an avocado touches the ground, it can’t be exported.
Once picked, not all avocados cut the mustard. When an avocado makes it to the packing house, samples are sliced to ensure only the perfect fruit make it to the next step. This is where the bumpy fruit gets a makeover; they’re washed and brushed until their natural wax shines through. The gleaming fruit then receive another quality check from a camera that detects skin imperfections and differences in size. But don’t think that just because an avocado has a delicious inside but less-than-perfect skin that it’s discarded. No, instead, these avos are designated to become world-class guacamole.
Those avocados lucky enough to make it to the packing crates end up on your supermarket shelves a few days later.
It’s our commitment to deliver to your kitchen nothing but quality avocados with a creamy texture and delicious flavor. Our growers and packers work tirelessly to preserve these attributes, and it’s that hard work that makes us a leader in the industry. Thanks to a rigorous quality control program devised and overseen by the USDA and Mexico’s Department of Agriculture, we’re proud our avocados are a staple in your supermarkets and households year-round.
Our ability to deliver rigorously quality-controlled avocados to your kitchen is a byproduct of our commitment to food safety. In 2009, we invested in state-of-the-art technology that can trace an avocado’s place of origin in less than an hour. The Avocado Producer and Exporting Packers Association of Mexico (APEAM) is dedicated to adopting world-class industry standards that produce avocados with unsurpassed taste, quality, and food safety. The next time you take a bite out of an avocado from Mexico, you can be assured it has gone through a rigorous food safety examination.
What does it take to grow a luscious and creamy Hass avocado? Well, like anything else worth having, it takes time, patience, and amor if you want the very best.
Naturally, all of the magic starts with the Hass avocado tree. Healthy and mature avocado trees can grow to be more than 50 feet high. They have dark green, glossy leaves and form a rounded umbrella shape as they grow. One tree can produce hundreds of pounds of avocados in just one year.
Mexico is the world’s largest producer of Hass avocados. The state of Michoacán in west-central Mexico is where 85 percent of Mexico’s avocados are produced. Avocado trees are a common sight in the area. You can find lush, green avocado groves flourishing on flat terrain and on the region’s steep hillsides.
The Hass avocado trees of Michoacán do very well because of the ideal climate, which includes warm summers with plenty of rain. Because of this, they produce fruit (yep, avocados really are a fruit) all year long.
But climate isn’t the only key ingredient required to successfully grow avocados. The soil has to be just right. In Michoacán, the secret ingredient is volcanoes. Yes, volcanoes. There are 1,350 volcanoes in this Mexican state. Over the course of millions of years, their eruptions have produced an incredibly rich soil that fuels the growth of the avocado trees.
Avocados from Mexico take an entire year to mature on the tree. Only after those 12 months have passed is the aguacate ready to be picked and delivered (usually within days) to a produce department near you.
Because avocados don’t start to ripen until they’re picked off the tree, harvesting has to be timed correctly in order to ensure that the fruit is not picked too early. If avocados are harvested too soon, they won’t ripen to their ideal creamy texture. Once the ideal avocados are harvested, they can take up to a week to ripen to a soft, buttery goodness at room temperature.
Who knew so much work went into growing such a tasty fruit?
To be more precise, that place is the Mexican state of Michoacán, where rich volcanic soil, abundant sunshine, and timely rainfall provide an ideal setting for the growth of creamy, tasty avocados. In Michoacán, you can find more than 30,000 avocado orchards that bloom 365 days a year.
Each bloom cycle has a name and corresponds to the time of year when farmers harvest avocados:
Avocados are ready for picking in orchards located below an elevation of 2,000 meters in June and everywhere in the state from July through September.
Avocados are ready for picking in orchards located below 1,600 meters from July to August, in orchards from 1,600 to 2,100 meters in August and September, and in orchards above 2,100 meters in October.
It’s during this bloom when the majority of avocados are produced. The crop is available in lower area orchards (1,100 to 1,600 meters) in September, in orchards below 2,100 meters in October, and in most all of the orchards in the state from November through February.
Avocados are ready for picking in orchards below 1,900 meters in March, from orchards 1,600 to 2,000 meters in April, from 2,000 to 2,300 meters in May, and from orchards at 2,300 to 2,500 meters in June.
In the heart of the feared Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, among more than 100 volcanoes, a sea of avocado trees thrive. This volcanic soil makes Michoacán a particularly fertile region for avocados.
The love, care, and dedication to the land, and the bounty of avocados are what give this beautiful region the well-deserved name: Avocadoland.